I know that I haven’t updated in a while so I’ll try to make up somewhat with this post.
I’ve been to archeological underwater excavation/survey at the small town called Caska (latin: Cissa) which is located on the beautiful island of Pag in Croatia. I’ve been as a part of Croatian-lead, French, Italian and Macedonian team of archeologists who were excavating an ancient wooden ship which was found last year. My job there was to photograph both underwater and above water as my knowledge of archeology can be summed up in two words: below basic. Lets first talk about the place itself. Ancient Cissa was a large estate (many villas and probably ships) of some famous roman senator which name escapes me. I did read it, but of course I forgot it. The place now is very interesting. The whole bay is very shallow (few meters at most) and somewhat well protected from wind (except from the Jugo – south wind which can produce big waves). All along the beaches (which are very narrow, only a couple of meters) there are still preserved huge ancient walls, walls of the houses (the other 3 walls collapsed in the sea with time or because of some other reason: earthquake(?) or maybe some plundering), walls from the water reservoirs etc. The reason why the beaches are narrow is that because the soil comes almost to the sea line so the big waves erode it revealing the stone base.
Our ship was around 15m from the beach at the depth of around 1.8m. The good news is that the whole bay has a thick layer of mud and sand (and a stony basis) so the ship was lying on the rock base and was covered in mud/sand. Mud doesn’t let oxygen in so the ship’s wooden construction is well preserved. Well, it is not as well preserved as the one at Pakoštane, but well preserved enough. This one is smaller and the west half (probably starboard) side is not well preserved. The general idea about the ship is that it about 2000 years old and was used by the population called Liburni(ans) which was then under Roman administration.
The ship is roughly facing north-south orientation and only 5 (2x2m) squares were excavated in the two week time the expedition was there. And that is a somewhat unusual thing for someone who is not familiar with archeology. The actually digging (usually removing the sand/mud from the wooden construction) is the fastest part and only lasts for a few days. Afterwards comes the slower part which takes many more days where they put numbers on every excavated bit and piece, take measurements, draw drafts of the ships layout, take exact measurements of the ship frames, take out some of the parts which are not connected to the ship itself and some loose parts, very fine cleaning etc. As our chief archeologist said, and if I remember correctly, the diving part is only 1/10th of the job – documentation in the office is another. Continuing with the ship, the frames and the planks are well preserved. But there is a very interesting finding though. The planks were sawn together to insure the water tightness which is a very rare finding.
So not to bother you more with the text – on to the photos.
You can see much more of them in my gallery at picasa gallery.
Disclaimer: All the history part in the text can be complete BS, I’m no historian, I wrote from memory from the things I heard.